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Grading the draft: Texans got better - The Galveston County Daily News : Local Sports

November 27, 2014

Grading the draft: Texans got better

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Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 12:05 am

Most fans of the NFL understand that a team’s draft can’t really be given a letter grade until two or three years down the road.

But that doesn’t keep us from doing it anyway, so here I go.

Even though I was on record saying I thought the Houston Texans should have used the No. 1 overall pick on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, I can’t fault the team for taking the consensus best athlete available in Jadeveon Clowney.

Paired with J.J. Watt, the Texans defensive line will be formidable for years to come.

Throw in Notre Dame nose tackle Louis Nix, a player predicted to go in the bottom half of the first round in many of the mock drafts I saw, taken by the Texans in the third round, and the Texans should be solid along the defensive front for years to come.

Allow me to go off track for just a second here — the Texans defense is a mystery to me. They were the eighth best defense last year in the NFL in terms of yards allowed per game, yet were tied for 24th worst in points allowed. I’m sure some of that scoring can be attributed to Matt Schaub and his string of pick-6s. But it seems to me if a defense is astute enough at not allowing yards, it should be able to do better in terms of not allowing points. And, if you look at 2012, the Texans were seventh in yards allowed and tied for ninth in points allowed per game.

I think the Texans have built a stout front seven that can pressure the quarterback and should be able to contain the running game, which should, in turn, take some of the pressure off the secondary and presumably return them to a top 10 defense in the only category that really matters — scoring.

We’ll never know if the Texans would have used the first pick of the second round on a quarterback had the Minnesota Viking not traded up to the final pick of the first round to take Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, but it’s hard to gripe about their pick of UCLA guard Xavier Su’a-Filo at that spot in the draft.

The Texans needed help on the offensive line — their depth chart at houstontexans.com lists Alex Kupper (who?) a second-year guard from Louisville as the starter at left guard — a spot held the previous three seasons by Wade Smith.

The third pick, Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, was deemed by many draft experts to be the best blocking tight end in the draft. And with the departure of Owen Daniels, it was a position of need.

Perhaps the most interesting pick, and one that certainly can’t be graded until we see what he does on the field, is University of Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage.

At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Savage has the measurables to be a top NFL quarterback.

And Texas head coach Bill O’Brien is known to be a quarterback guru, so it will be interesting to see what the coach can make of a quarterback who seemed to have all the tools, but never really stood out as a college quarterback.

The Texans used their five picks in the sixth and seventh rounds for projects and depth, which many teams do, including more help on the defensive line (Alabama defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan), secondary (Vanderbilt defensive back Andre Hal and Memphis DB Lonnie Ballentine), and a pair of running backs (Alfred Blue from LSU, who could be the heir apparent to departed free agent running back Ben Tate, and a blocking fullback in Jay Prosch from Auburn.)

Like in any draft, some of these players aren’t going to pan out, and some will.

In my opinion, I think the Texans improved the team with their selections and it should show in their record next year.

I’ll give them an

A- right now, but reserve the right to change my grade once I see how they play on Sundays.